‘American Gods’ showrunners abruptly step down before season 2

Photo via American Gods/Starz

Casting news, trailers, behind-the-scenes updates, and more

The first season of American Gods wowed fans with immersive storytelling, high production values, and clever additions to the original story. Season 2 is already in the works, but you may have to wait a while for it to arrive. Like Westworld, this is the kind of show that takes more than a year to make.

In fact, season 2 is now up in the air as showrunners Michael Green and Bryan Fuller suddenly announced their departure from the series on Nov. 29. According to Variety, Fuller and Green clashed with FremantleMedia, which produces American Gods, and apparently wanted a budget increase for season 2 episodes.

A new showrunner was not immediately announced.

Green previously said the series would take on an “angrier” attitude for a darker world in its sophomore airing, partly inspired by contemporary politics. While it’s unclear what direction the series might take under new leadership, here is what we knew about season 2 up until this point.

american gods salim Photo via American Gods/Starz

American Gods season 2 cast

The main cast will obviously reprise their roles, including Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon), Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday) and Emily Browning (Laura Moon). Judging by how the season ended, we expect to see more expanded roles for secondary characters like Bilquis (Yetide Badaki) and Salim (Omid Abtahi).

Gillian Anderson won’t return for season 2, a decision precipitated by the departure of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green. She previously worked with Fuller on Hannibal and confirmed in January that she quit American Gods after Fuller left the show.

Kristen Chenoweth, who starred in Fuller’s fantasy romcom series Pushing Daisies, seems unsure if she’ll reprise her role as Easter in season 2. “It depends on who [the new showrunner] is and if they think I add value or not,” she said in Dec. 2017. She and Anderson both have busy careers, and appeared in American Gods specifically because they enjoy working with Fuller. It’s unclear whether Starz will recast Media (and potentially Easter), or write the characters out of the show.

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Season 2 will add some new characters, although they haven’t officially been cast yet. Co-creator and former showrunner Bryan Fuller has already talked about introducing Mama-Ji (an Indian woman with a minor role in the book) and Sam Black Crow (a Native American hitchhiker), among others. Season 1 gave more screentime to background characters from the book, as well as adding new roles like the volcano god Vulcan.

american gods season 2 vulcan Photo via American Gods/Starz

American Gods season 2 plot

As we discussed in our season 1 finale recapAmerican Gods had to shorten its first season due to budgetary concerns. The original plan was to end the season at the “House on the Rock” scene from the book, an epic meeting between the Old Gods. However, the showrunners wound up trimming the season to eight episodes to meet their production budget, meaning they had to create a new (and slightly disappointing) showdown for the finale.

The last episode ends with a road sign pointing toward the House on the Rock, signaling an important meeting between Mr. Wednesday and his peers, with Bilquis present as an undercover agent for the New Gods, and Salim on his way to confront the Djinn.

If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that its sprawling plot is not necessarily suited a structured TV show with season-wide arcs. That’s why the showrunners worked with Neil Gaiman to make changes in season 1, and that’s why season 2 may stray further from the original. In particular, the finale set up an interesting new facet to the story: a famine caused by Ostara (Kristen Chenoweth). This could indicate more “real” impact on the everyday humans of America, rather than restricting the conflict to the gods themselves.

In an interview with the Wrap, Fuller said that Shadow will have a “much more exciting arc in season 2 than he did in season 1,” kicking off from the events of the finale. Since Shadow now truly believes in Mr. Wednesday and is aware of what happened to his wife Laura, he’s free to be a more active figure in the war between the Old and New Gods.

American Gods season 2 release date

Starz hasn’t confirmed an official release date, but we’re currently estimating summer 2018 at the earliest (probably later, in light of Fuller and Green’s departure). They’re planning to make 10-episode season, two episodes longer than season 1.

American Gods season 2 trailer

Needless to say, the American Gods season 2 trailer hasn’t arrived yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

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